September Newsletter Post
“I solemnly urge you to preach the message, to insist upon proclaiming it (whether the time is right or not), to convince, reproach, and encourage, as you teach with all patience. The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, […] But you must keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of a preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God.” 2 Timothy 4: 1-3, 5
The work of a pastor is not easy. It is especially challenging for the rural indigenous pastors of Guatemala facing isolation, poverty, and lack of basic education. The Pokomchí and Q’eqchi pastors enrolled in the 2-year Diploma in Theology course desire to be the most effective pastors possible in spite of their difficulties. They are passionate to serve their congregations and spread the Gospel as opportunity presents itself.
“I have participated in some Bible activities, but the teaching wasn’t very detailed like now in this education. I have learned a lot about the Bible. What they have taught us is of the utmost importance. Through what we have learned, we can teach the church members as we should.” -Pastor Participant-
Another pastor commented that he is very happy to be here, to have more time to learn about God’s Word. “For us it is very important to have good resources and form a good sermon. Sometimes, we only read a Bible verse, maybe look it up online if we are able, that was it. Now we are being taught to search out a quiet place to pray over the Bible verse – that we would be guided by the Holy Spirit and then start the whole interpretation process.”
Let us give you a quick recap of the training so far.
We shared an introduction to the program in the May Newsletter; if you haven’t read it or want a refresher, click here to be directed to it.
In the first session, the topic was Biblical Theology, which Chosen People describes as: “Teaching pastoral leaders how the Bible fits into the whole of its context and helps with understanding the Bible’s unity.” They looked at the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and explored themes embedded in the Bible. They built a firm base from which to continue learning.
The second session was held August 19th – 22nd and again consisted of four 8-10-hour days.They were taught about Hermeneutics, which Chosen People says is: “Designed to help pastors and pastoral leaders to interpret and understand the Bible, the importance of the context, and how to navigate different Bible genres.” It is very intensive education and it has been a challenge for the pastors, especially since Spanish is not their mother tongue. However, they are very motivated to learn and ask many questions. The instructor from Chosen People spent extra time ensuring all understood this new knowledge. They now have tools and processes to follow in order to correctly interpret the scriptures. Also, their Christian resource library is growing as, this session, they received an Illustrated Bible Dictionary. The education is hands-on and interactive. They were tasked with working in groups to interpret Bible verses. After lots of practice, they were assigned homework to do this individually and form a sermon.
Besides being mentally stimulated and improved, their hearts have also benefited. They have developed friendships and freely share with each other. As they often work in isolation, they relish being with like-minded people with whom they have formed bonds. The atmosphere is filled with laughter and chatting.
“Being in this place brings me so much joy, because of the education that we are receiving. This is the first time I have attended an activity like this. This training has strengthened my knowledge as a pastor so that I am able to easily understand and share God’s Word. I am grateful to ASOSAP and the supporters for running this program. Through them we are receiving these teachings and through this we can help many believers and non-believers. May God bless them [ASOSAP and supporters] and give them much energy, faith, and knowledge.” -Pastor Participant –
The next and final session for this year will take place October 7th -10th
We ask you to please continue praying for these pastors as they push themselves in this demanding learning. Please also pray for peace and strength as they have many responsibilities and are pulled in various directions. It is a sacrifice as they are away from their families and churches for days to attend these sessions. They leave others in charge, but worry about their church while they are gone. One pastor participant had to leave for the night to lead an activity as his substitute became sick. He then returned in the morning to the education, but this demonstrates the pressure they experience.
If you are able, we would also appreciate financial support for Year Two – 2020. We are thankful for the donations we have received! We are only $2,037 U.S. short to have next year fully funded. We thank you in advance if you choose to donate! We look forward to partnering with Chosen people again next year and seeing even further growth and equipping of these pastors!